Bread Pudding:
1 pound loaf cinnamon-raisin bread, sliced
1 quart reduced-fat (2 percent) milk
3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2 Jonagold or Golden Delicious apples, cored and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts
Cider Sauce:
3 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons half-and-half


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Lay bread slices on rack in oven and bake until bread is dry but not toasted -- about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Increase oven heat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan. In medium saucepan, combine milk, brown sugar, lemon zest and vanilla; heat, stirring, just until sugar dissolves.
3. In large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Slowly stir in milk mixture. Tear bread into bite-size pieces and add to bowl. Stir in apples, cranberries, and walnuts Set bread pudding mixture aside five minutes or until bread absorbs most of liquid and softens. Spoon into prepared pan an bake 40 to 45 minutes or until pudding sets and feels firm to the touch. Set aside to cool.
4. For Cider Sauce: In medium saucepan. Simmer cider until reduced by half. Stirring constantly, add cornstarch mixture. Cook, stirring, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in half-and-half.
5. To serve, invert pudding onto serving plate. Serve with Cider Sauce.

There are as many recipes for bread pudding as there are bakers. And most of them contain generous amounts of whipping cream and butter which laden the pudding with fat. In this version, we substitute milk to reduce the fat and add lots of fruits. Finally, it's served with a cornstarch-thickened sauce that has a rich-tasting texture.

Cran-Apple Bread Pudding with Cider Sauce
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